Written by Staff Writer
In a bid to guard against viral infections, the World Health Organization has named an Omicron variant of the B. viral group the new “public health emergency of international concern.”
“Omicron variant fever” — which is different from the currently circulating H3N2 strain of flu that has swept the U.S. and Europe — has been “reported at a very high frequency” in Africa, WHO said in its most recent World Health Assembly — a meeting held every two years to address scientific matters across WHO’s 194 member states.
“Omicron variant fever has also recently been reported in North America,” the agency said in a statement.
According to WHO, there have been incidents of “a major outbreak of ‘Ebola-like’ viral hemorrhagic fever in East Africa where about 300 cases of clinical disease have been reported.”
WHO chief scientist, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny said, “our hands are tied” when it comes to the latest disease.
Flu pandemics are things of the past in the wake of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic of 2009 to 2010. But Omicron variant fever poses a serious threat to health in the months to come, added Keita, who is also UNICEF’s Executive Director
As for our collective “hands tied,” it was the Republican-controlled Congress that stymied the attempts by the Obama administration in 2011 to reclassify B. influenzas from a “pandemic” to a “public health emergency,” according to WHO.
“Luckily, the office of the Secretary of State, which has ‘authority of public health emergency authority’, reached the same conclusion,” WHO said in a statement.
Theresa Wicks, CEO of AlertMe, who was appointed to the post of Chief Scientist by the organization’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said WHO decided on the classification following a peer review process.
She added that the organization’s advisory committee will be looking at reports that appeared earlier this year on the treatment of seropositive cases of Omicron variant fever.
Of the possible treatments, Ghebreyesus said in a statement, one is that of anti-viral influenza medication.